Flew in from Chicago the day before the cruise. Stayed at the Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale, which we prefer to their property in Miami. Nice room and great location. We like to walk over to Duffy's Sports Bar for lunch or dinner. Good food and generous drinks. Also, there's a Total Wine, grocery store and just about anything you need (or forgot) is within walking distance. We arranged with the concierge for a car to pick us up the next morning to go to the Port of Miami. Wonderful guy, named Shelley. We were at the port by 11 and on the ship by 11:10.
Although this was not our first Celebrity Cruise, it was our first time in Aqua Class. The rooms are the same as CC rooms but the amenities were a step up. The private relaxation lounge was very nice and access to the Persian Garden was a treat. The real bonus was eating in Blu. The food and the service was outstanding. We can't imagine going back to the main dining room again. We did have lunch in the MDR a couple times. It was ok. I'm just as happy with a sandwich at the buffet and my husband loves a hotdog from the grill.
The Eclipse is a beautiful ship. As this is the third S Class ship we've been on, we felt comfortable the minute we got on. We especially like Maria Kelly, the Activities Director. I didn't much care for the Cruise Director, Mike. He was funny and could tell a good joke but his vocal performances were a little long. We didn't find the officers to be that engaging but it certainly didn't impact our cruise. The rest of the staff certainly made up for it.
As for the ports, we've been to SanJuan a few times so we didn't get off the ship. In the past, we've gone to the Bacardi distillery and the fort. Both are worthwhile. We walked around in St. Thomas. We've done parasailing and snorkeling here before and they were great. St. Maarten was our favorite port of this cruise. Although we've done the bus tour that takes you to both sides, this time we just wandered around on our own. There are great shops, fun casinos and pleasant people.
If you're looking to change up your cruise experience a little, give Aqua Class a try. You won't be disappointed.